Green Thumb Tips
Echter’s Plant Doctors are available
during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For
accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
- Flower Gardens
Watering plants that have been recently planted outdoors is tricky. The rule
is to water them in thoroughly after they are planted. Then watch the area next
to the edge of the original soil ball to see if it is getting dry. You want to
encourage the roots to move out into the surrounding soil to get water without
letting the original soil ball get too dry. Reduce the watering frequency with
time, but water thoroughly each time you water. Don't just wet the surface of
- An easy way to harden plants that are going outdoors is to cover them with
Plant & Seed Guard for a few days after you plant them. You can use wire
supports if necessary to hold the fabric away from the plants. Attach it to the
ground with wire staples. It’s re-usable.
- Pot begonias and dahlias now and keep them indoors until later in May.
This will give them a good head start and they will bloom earlier after putting them outside.
transplanting, be sure that your plants are not dry.
- Flowering annual starts which can be planted out
in early April after “hardening them
off” are alyssum,
dusty miller, sweet peas, anchusa, larkspur, centaurea,
pansies, dracaena, and snapdragons.
- Perennials & Roses & Vines
- Group flowers and vegetables with the same water needs together to take
advantage of their lower water requirements.
- Plant wildflower
seeds in April. Improve your soil before planting by raking in either peat moss or compost
combination of the two.
- Trees & Shrubs
- April is the best
time to plant new trees and shrubs. Improve the soil
first with compost and/or peat moss. Then apply MYKE Tree &
Shrub Transplanter and water in with Root
Stimulator, both of which reduce transplant shock and stimulate root growth.
- When planting large trees,
stake them for the first year. Use
2” wide staking straps around the tree. Do
not use wire, twine or rope on
the tree itself. Place the stakes 2-3 feet away from the tree, tie the strap
to the stake and leave a little slack. Let the tree sway slightly to develop
roots and caliper.
- Cut back butterfly
bushes, blue mist spireas, Russian sage and other late summer-blooming
shrubs at this time.
you didn’t get around to pruning your shrubs and trees in March, you can
still do some pruning now, the earlier the better.
Remove protective tree wrap from young trees
around April 1. Check the
trunk for any problems.
- Before transplanting,
always make sure trees and shrubs are not dry to help
avoid transplant stress.
It's time to plant garlic
cloves, seed potatoes, dormant strawberry plants and
- Keep an N-sulate cover handy for unexpected frosts after your garden is
planted. It will keep the frost off new seedlings as they emerge from the soil.
- Remember to rotate your vegetable crop
plantings each year. Plant each variety of
vegetable in a different part of your garden than you did last year. This
will minimize repeated problems with disease and insects.
- Plant your fast growing crops in two-week intervals to prolong the
availability of lettuce, spinach, peas, and radishes. When
the weather gets too hot for these vegetables, plant some in the shade of
taller plants, like pole beans and corn. This system is also good for
gardeners with limited space.
- By placing a floating row
cover over your carrot, lettuce, and spinach seed, your seeds will
germinate quicker, and the birds won’t make a meal of them. Floating row
covers also eliminate cabbage loopers on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and
your cover handy in case there is a cold snap
for any newly planted vegetables and flowers.
- Early April is the best time to start
fertilizing your lawn. By using a fertilizer with pre-emergent (weed and grass
preventer), you will be able to eliminate a lot of annual grass and weed seeds
by keeping them from germinating.
- April is a good time to seed or overseed
lawns. Use a good grass seed and apply New Lawn Starter fertilizer after the
seed is sown. Keep the area moist even after germination. Do not apply a
pre-emergent crabgrass control before or after seeding, as this will prevent
grass seed germination.
Core aerate your lawn before fertilizing this month. Not only does this
help the lawn’s vigor and health, it also reduces maintenance and water usage. Be sure your lawn is well watered
a day or two before aeration.
- Keep your mower blade sharp. Dull blades can invite lawn diseases to
enter grass blades. Bring your rotary mower blades into Echter’s for
sharpening. You can bring them in on or off the mower.
a nice warm day, take your houseplants outside and give them a shower, or
use your bathroom shower. The plants will appreciate a good cleaning after
being inside all winter.
- It's spring cleaning
season even for birds. If you haven't cleaned your bird houses this
year, clean them
out and then spray them with a bird feeder cleaner before the new birds arrive.
- Continue feeding the birds at your feeders. Seed-producing plants are just
beginning to grow and there
are now more birds competing for the depleted
wild seed supply. Give them a supply of water also.